The Collin County Commissioners' Court is gearing up for budget season and is beginning to take a closer look at employee compensation.
Human resource director Cynthia Jacobson presented the court with plans to compare employee compensation and benefits to employees of similar counties and cities. Jacobson said the complex study will allow the county to adjust salaries and wages as needed. County Judge Keith Self said the county conducts a similar study every year, but this year the court decided to include healthcare and retirement benefits.
"This is a major project that compares salaries, healthcare and retirement benefits in a comprehensive package," Self said. "It is a good view of not only salaries but health care and retirement benefits."
Self said he doesn't see the court lowering any salaries this budget season and hopes employees will take advantage of the county's Pay For Performance (PFP) program.
"We have a PFP program that does take some work," he said. "In the past, we have committed ourselves to a small PFP amount because we want to keep the system going. We need to reward our best employees and provide incentive to others to complete the PFP paperwork to keep the system going."
Jacobson asked the court Monday to determine the comparable entities for legal and law enforcement pay scales to ensure a proper comparison.
The legal departments in the county will be compared to those in Montgomery, Fort Bend, Williamson and Denton County. The counties were chosen for their similarities to Collin County in size, growth and economic development.
The law enforcement departments will be compared to Montgomery, Fort Bend, Williamson and Denton County Sheriff Departments in addition to the five major police departments in the county -- Frisco, McKinney, Plano, Allen and Wylie. The cities were added because, as Sheriff Terry Box said, most county employees transfer to surrounding city police departments.
"We have gone through and updated all of our job duties and performances and what is expected of our employees over the past year," said Terry Box, Collin County Sheriff. "We have only lost officers to the Allen, Frisco, Plano, McKinney and Wylie area. We haven't lost anyone to any other county sheriff's office and we don't mind being compared to them, but our field of employment in our area is the four or five police departments."
As the study continues, Jacobson will present the court with salary comparison information for all pay scales and benefit comparisons. Lastly, she will calculate regression information and overall comparison, tying together all compensation and benefits calculations, according to a presentation given at Monday's commissioners' court meeting.
The in-depth study could prove challenging for the HR department due to the absence of key employees.
"Our big issue is that we have no front person, we are down a benefits person, my payroll person is out on medical leave for a couple of weeks, so my initial answer is that yes we will do it," Jacobson said. "How? I haven't quite gotten there."
Jacobson said the biggest challenge the department will face is melding the county's compensation and benefits with other entities.
"That's where it's going to get sticky because that's a lot of hours of work," she said.
Self said Jacobson will be presenting information as she finds it and the study should be complete before the court rolls into its budget season.
Source: Star Local News